Do prisons do more harm than good? What is the relationship between poverty and crime?
Our joint honours Social Policy and Criminology degree will offer you an exciting opportunity to examine issues which strike at the heart of many contemporary political and media debates. This course combines popular degree subjects that offer complementary insights into a range of social problems and social harms.
The Social Policy and Criminology degree will enable you to consider the ways that different societies produce contrasting levels of 'problems' and 'harms', such as drug and alcohol addiction, homicide, homelessness and workplace injury. You will be encouraged to consider the reasons why these are designated as being either 'crimes' or 'social policy' issues and therefore are dealt with through contrasting 'welfare' or 'criminal justice' responses.
Students on this programme who meet the requisite academic performance criteria will be offered the opportunity to undertake a specialist placement during the second year of the programme.
Download our course brochure (PDF - 1.93MB)
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Student, BA Social Policy and Criminology
“Here there are so many different resources – there are computers everywhere, books everywhere and help everywhere! They help you, but they don’t smother you – I think that one of the most important things about being here.”
This Joint Honours Social Policy and Criminology degree is an interdisciplinary programme suitable for students who are currently studying a range of subjects at A-level and who have a particular interest in a wide range of topic areas, such as poverty, homelessness, crime, prisons, drugs and alcohol addiction.
The University of Birmingham is one of the most attractive and heritage-rich campuses in the country only a few minutes from the centre of Birmingham. The Social Policy and Criminology degree is located in the School of Social Policy and is led by academics who are specialists in social policy as well as crime and criminology.
By studying at the University of Birmingham on our Social Policy and Criminology degree, you will have the chance to be part of a vibrant community of students and staff making real-world impact by addressing past, current and future challenges in the field of social policy.
Modules in the first year
The programme comprises a number of core modules designed to develop student's knowledge and research skills and to support the progression to more independent forms of study.
- Introduction to Social Policy
- Social Science, Social Problems and Social Policy
- Social Research I
- Introduction to Criminology
- Violence in a Global Context
Plus one optional module of up to 20 credits.
Modules in the second year
- Policy Analysis
- Social Research II
- Criminal Justice Systems
- Punishment in a Global Context
Students can choose either to apply for the 20-credit Doing Justice* Criminology module and 20 credits from the remaining options, or choose 40 credits from the following options:
- Social Theory and Social Policy
- Comparative Social Policy
- Poverty, Wealth, Class and Inequality
- Gender and Sexuality
- Sociology of Race’ and Ethnicity – A Global Perspective
- Social Policy and Disability
- Terror, Threat and Security
- Managing Health and Social Care
- The Third Sector and Social Enterprise
- Housing and Communities
- Self and Society
- Media and Society
- Global Societies
*This module is limited in terms of the number of placements and requires students to apply.
Applicants must have secured 55% overall for their first year but successfully complete a pre-placement interview. Other placement opportunities are available via the Careers Service and Volunteering through the Guild of Students.
Modules in the third year
To balance your Joint Honours you must then select two Criminology modules from:
- Harmful Societies: Crime, Social Harm and Social Justice
- Youth Crime and Justice
- Crime and the City
Plus two options from the following:
- Prospects for Social Policy
- From Beveridge to May
- Quantitative Analysis I and Quantitative Analysis II
- Migration and Super Diversity
- Your Money and Your Life
- Sociology of Personal Life
- Divided Publics
- Doing or Not Doing God? Religion, Policy and Politics
- Sociology of Health and Illness
- Political Sociology
- Technology and Society
- ‘Freedom’, Control and Critique
- Professional Development Module
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.
Learn more about
fees and funding.
Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2019-20
Overseas students entering in 2019-20
Fee Band (Undergraduate)
Band 1 (Classroom)
At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.
The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.
Learn more about our
scholarships and awards
Learn more about our scholarships and awards
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- General Studies:
BTEC Extended Diploma accepted - grades required DDM-DDD
Typical offers when offered in combination with A Levels:
- BTEC Diploma DM-DD plus B in A level
- BTEC Subsidiary Diploma D plus BB-AB in A levels
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 at Higher Level to include English with a minimum of 32 points overall
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about International student entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.
Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com using code: L673
Learn more about applying
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
You submit an application via the UCAS websitewith a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.
You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.
As a Birmingham student, studying a Social Policy and Criminology degree with us, you will be part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
The research-led teaching on our flexible Social Policy and Criminology degree course ensures an inspirational and enquiry-based learning environment in the lecture theatre, seminar room and on placement.
How will I be taught?
During your time studying our Social Policy and Criminology degree, your learning will be facilitated through a blend of teaching, learning and assessment methods, and you will experience teaching through a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, classes and tutorials.
Learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studying of our Social Policy and Criminology degree. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.
Depending on the modules you select, each week you will have between 12 and 15 hours of lectures and classes, with lecturers on hand to answer additional questions outside of this timeframe.
Internships and work experience
We have developed a range of internships and funded work experience placements that form part of our Social Policy and Criminology degree and will enhance both your professional and personal skills whilst giving you the practical experience that is required by almost all graduate employers. In addition to funding and support, we offer unique opportunities to help you to rise above the competition, with global internships and placements available.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this
transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.
During your first year you will undergo a formal
'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.
At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you'll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You'll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from, and build on, what you have done. You'll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.
Your Birmingham Social Policy and Criminology degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. You will graduate as a highly employable, independent global citizen with a broad range of transferable skills.
Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services available to you on this Social Policy and Criminology degree, you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start your Social Policy and Criminology degree at the University of Birmingham. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham Social Policy and Criminology degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline, all of which can be transferred into your studies.
Visit the University of Birmingham Careers pages for further information on how we are investing in your future.
There are a number of job paths for you to take after graduating. There are graduate schemes in managing welfare services in health care, the third sector and local government which can be popular choices with our graduates. Since a Social Policy and Criminology degree is based upon how policy is made it is a great degree for working in the civil service, local government or for think tanks. Our graduate also gain students many transferable skills such as critical thinking, written and verbal communication and team work which give them the flexibility to go into a wide range of employment opportunities:
NHS management trainee scheme
Marketing project manager
Social enterprise co-ordinator
Campaign manager for an MP
Graduate land buyer
Opportunities to secure a career that is right for you can be enhanced not only through experiences that are available to you on your Social Policy and Criminology degree programme, but also through our specialist Careers Network.
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Shape your academic experience
Choose to study here and you will have a Student Representative, who works with the University and Students' Union on issues that directly affect students. You could even become one yourself. Not only would you be making a difference to the academic student experience, but you would also be developing transferable skills for the future.
Find out more on the Guild of Students website
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - over 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.